West Orange premiere of ‘Diwal’Oween’ draws large crowd

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — The independently produced “Diwal’Oween” family comedy celebrated its West Orange premiere on Sunday, Oct. 20, in the standing-room-only West Orange Arts Center at 551 Valley Road. 

Pre-film activities included pumpkin painting and Rangoli, an Indian artform traditionally done during Diwali, the five-day Hindu festival of lights. A film discussion and question-and-answer with filmmaker Shilpa Mankikar, cast and crew followed. Many of the “Diwal’Oween” scenes were filmed with local student talent on location in the South Mountain Reservation and other New Jersey locations. Attendees enjoyed meeting the local actors and sampling the snacks that were in the film, which ranged from M&M’s and Twix, to jalebi and kaju barfi.

Mankikar, a West Orange native, is an award-winning American filmmaker, documentarian, director and writer, and a graduate of Oberlin College and the MFA Film Program at Columbia University in New York. “Diwal’Oween” is the winner of 11 awards, including the Best Family Series at Baltimore New Media WebFest, the Audience Award and Best Actor at Jersey City Halloween Popup Fest, and 2nd Place web content at the New Delhi Short Film Awards. It was nominated for Best Family Series and Best Diverse Content at Toronto Webfest, and Best Web Content at the Largo Awards in Switzerland. Mankikar is based in New York, Los Angeles and Mumbai. See film trailer at www.diwalloween.com.

Photos Courtesy of Patricia Mitrano